Scammers with skimmers are as aggressive as ever. Skimmers are devices that masquerade as legitimate ATM or gas pumps by being placed directly above them. There are often cameras placed above the keypads to record the users’ PIN’s as well. Criminals then use this information to steal your money.
Skimming has been a problem for decades, but it’s become increasingly common in the past five years—and it’s spreading. Tracie Gerstenberg, who does anti-skimming business development for ADT Business Solutions, said that while skimming was previously focused in large metro areas like “New York City, Chicago, southern California, and the entire
state of Florida, really,” it has recently become prevalent in smaller suburban settings where people “aren’t as educated about skimming.”
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The scam has moved beyond ATMs. Skimmers now attach card readers to gas pumps across the US, capturing both credit and debit card data. Self-checkout machines at grocery stores have been targeted, too. And one larger criminal organization in New York was paying waiters to collect their well-heeled customers’ credit card data last year with hand-held card readers. That ring took in $1.2 million in cash as fake credit cards were used to purchase handbags, watches, and other luxury goods to be resold.
As the skimming devices get smaller and the thieves more brazen, it’s incumbent upon users to be ever vigilant to not become victims of crime.